This piece was originally published at The Elephant Journal
The empty boxes are on the curb for recycling.
The vacuum cylinder is coated with sparkles and stray pine needles are strewed about the house. The Christmas commotion has settled and it’s perfect time to appreciate all we have, let go of what weighs us down and make space for new dreams in this New Year.
This year, why not toss your resolution and try a Sankalpa—it’s a powerful way to start any endeavor. A Sankalpa is a simple but specific intention; a spiritual resolve. It is like a blank canvas. Kalpa means, idea, imagination of the mind, creation. Each New Year or any new beginning is the time to choose your Sankalpa.
The difference between it and a New Years Resolution is the direction of the energy, behind the determination.
New Year’s Resolutions often require that we give something up—sweets or alcohol—the focus is more on what we have been doing wrong and implies that we are not enough.
But, a Sankalpa focuses on what we want to call into our life, the focus shifts from lack to receiving and abundance.
Here are the six easy steps to follow that will help you set your Sankalpa:
1. An Internal Vow.
New Year’s resolutions are often shared and discussed. Telling a goal makes it less likely to happen—it actually extinguishes our drive. When we share ambition and it is acknowledged by others, the mind tricked into feeling satisfaction and we are less likely to do the work required. The mind mistakes the talking for the doing.
Write your Sankalpa down and keep it for yourself. Repeat it before bed, or during a yoga class or whenever you like. But, your Sankalpa is only for you. When you keep a promise to yourself, it’s sacred.
2. I am, not I want.
Focus on a positive result. Don’t give attention to what you don’t want or are lacking in. Word your Sankalpa with care, in the affirmative and present tense; I am rather than I want.
A Sankalpa is not “ I want to make new friends in my community.” It is “I have new friends in my community.”This slight adjustment makes a big difference; the word “want” signals lack. You attract what you think, so if the mind is focused on lack, you cannot receive.
Imagine your best life and be clear and remember that where your energy is directed, your future goes.
3. Align with your Dharma.
Dharma is the desire to be what your soul was meant to be. Ask yourself; how can I serve my highest potential?
When the individual aligns with the universal it is powerful—you know when you are moving in the right direction in life. Your energy carries and sustains you. Sometimes our resolutions don’t serve our Dharma. When we force situations to be as we wish rather than accepting what is, we exhaust our prana. When you feel this way, it is likely that you are not in alignment.
“You are what your deep driving desire is,
As is your desire so is your intention.
As is your intention so is your will.
As is your will so is your deed.
As is your deed so is your destiny.”
~ Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
4. Let go.
We cannot receive until we let go of expectations and actions. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have desires, goals and dreams. Rather, it means we have a clear view of what the spirit is calling for and faith in the abundance of the Universe.
A Sankalpa is not about achieving a specific thing within a certain time frame; it is broader and far more encompassing than that. It is a steady, internal, energetic shift. It changes you.
Be clear about what you desire, keep an open mind about outcomes and sustain effort and faith.
“Once you make a decision the
whole world conspires to make it happen.” ~ Emerson
5. Make space in your home and your life to welcome the new.
January first, we start our first 24 Things cycle for the year 2013. Let go of one thing, each day, for the next 24 days. Let go and create freedom, in the home, mind or body and create a sacred space. Inside this sacred space, you can develop the faith that you will be provided for and cherished without the aid of material things.
We are more powerful than we know and can call in the wonderful, when we learn to let go. Make space in your life for your Sankalpa to enter.
The only other requirement to 24 Things is that you cannot make purchases for the 24 days. If there is something you think you want make a list. If you can remember what is on the list by the day 24 then by all means…buy it!
Write a little something every day about what you are letting go of; it can stir up a lot of discomfort and sometimes confusion when we rid ourselves of clutter in our lives. But, only by clutter holds us back and weighs us down.
We have a growing list of bloggers that join in on 24 Things and share their experiences. If you are blogging, let me know. I love hearing about the experiences of others and will link you up to the 24 Things website.
Make a magical New Year.